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A new study finds African-American women are more likely than men to stay with a type of substance abuse counseling called Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET). However, the women’s substance abuse issues continued, UPI reports.

The study compared MET with usual counseling for substance abuse among 194 African-American men and women who were seeking outpatient substance abuse treatment. “The idea of Motivational Enhancement Therapy is for counselors to help patients build motivation and strengthen commitment to behavior change,” lead researcher LaTrice Montgomery of the University of Cincinnati said in a news release. MET is designed to address patients’ ambivalence about substance abuse treatment, she said.

MET uses exercises to help patients examine the pros and cons of substance abuse, Montgomery explained. “A patient discusses what he or she considers the ‘pros’ of substance use, such as drinking alcohol to reduce anxiety, but despite its ability to help reduce the patient’s anxiety, the patient might also acknowledge that heavy drinking negatively influences their interpersonal relationships,” she said.

While women enrolled in MET counseling for 16 weeks stuck with the program longer than those receiving usual substance abuse counseling, men’s retention rates were similar in both programs. However, both men and women participating in MET reported more days per week of substance abuse than those in usual counseling.

The study is published in the journal Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.

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